Education / Schools

Horribly embarrassing for everybody, but this guy (who topped the 'F*** List')

When Tom Wolfe wrote I Am Charlotte Simmons, he interviewed his Duke daughter and Stanford son about their college experiences, and tried to capture what university life would be like for a highly intelligent, young, innocent virgin at an elite school obsessed with frat parties and athletics. It was an enjoyable read. If you want something similar to that, but a non-fiction version with less innocence and more alcohol, check out An education beyond the classroom: excelling in the realm of horizontal academics.

2010 Duke grad Karen Owen facetiously called it her “Senior Honors Thesis.” I summarized it over at my new bloggerly digs:

Owen kept detailed notes on her sexual adventures with 13 members of Duke’s lacrosse, baseball and tennis teams over the last four years. She then put those notes, along with the athletes’ names and photos into a 42-slide PowerPoint presentation, that concludes with a ranking of the 13 on what she calls her “F*** list.” (Congratulations, I suppose, to this guy for topping the list.)

Owen sent it by email to three friends, and then because it was too brilliant, hilarious, and painstakingly-elaborate to keep among four friends, one of them forwarded it on. Like an STD in a frat house, it went viral…

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Tyler Clementi

Over the past few days, we’ve learned a lot about Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers college student and talented violinist who killed himself after his roommate streamed, live on the internet, a hidden webcam video of Tyler hooking up with another man. On September 22, a few days after the incident, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Former ATL editor Kashmir Hill has learned even more. She’s been tracking Clementi’s digital footprints, and found that he went to a message board for gay men seeking counsel after he learned of his roommate’s prank.

I used the word “prank” because that’s how I see the actions of Tyler Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi. Ravi is an 18-year-old kid in his first semester at college. Along with a friend, Molly Wei, Ravi pulled a prank on his new roommate — one that went horribly wrong.

Because Clementi killed himself, the media has worked itself into a rabid lather over Ravi’s and Wei’s actions. The story was all over the New York Times yesterday. Michael Daly criticized Ravi so harshly I thought I was reading about some kind of modern day Billy Zabka in the New York Daily News this morning. Some gay rights groups want Ravi to be charged with a hate crime.

Before we crucify this college freshman, I have a couple of questions…

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In a couple of years, we might look back on today as the first point where the giant, unsustainable bubble that is the student loan market began to burst. Check out this press release:

The Student Loan Corporation (NYSE:STU – News), a subsidiary of Citibank, N.A., and a leading originator and servicer of student loans, announced that The Student Loan Corporation (“SLC”) and Discover Financial Services (“Discover”) have entered into a definitive agreement for Discover to acquire SLC, and thereby become the owner of its private student loan business as well as $4 billon of its private student loans. Separately and immediately prior to the transaction, (i) SLM Corporation (“Sallie Mae”) will acquire from SLC $28 billion of securitized federal student loans and related assets and (ii) Citi will acquire from SLC certain federal and private student loans and other assets totaling $8.7 billion. Upon the closing of the transactions described above, shareholders of SLC will receive $30 per share.

So Citi is getting out of the student loan origination business (although they’ll still have some existing loans on their books). I guess they don’t want to be the Lehman Brothers of this failing market…

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I’ve written a lot about the horrible reality of the student loan industry. I’ve talked about how schools have no incentive to keep costs under control, how student debt is the next “credit bubble,” and how student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy (which is ridiculous).

But I’m not good with pictures. Luckily, the people at CollegeScholarships.org are good with pictures. They brilliantly break down the entire student loan racket in one easy to understand graphic.

Look at it; share it with your friends. Send it to parents of kids bound for higher education. If you are wondering why America’s students are in such a bind, here’s all you need to know…

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Martin Luther dropped out of law school - and so can you.

At what point should you give up on your dream of becoming a lawyer? It’s a question on many people’s minds lately. Whether they were laid off during the recession and haven’t been able to get back in, or if they’ve just graduated law school to the triumphant sounds of crickets, people are wondering when it’s time to stop throwing good money (and effort) after bad.

It’s a question some people start asking before they even graduate from law school. With the school year getting underway, returning law students are once again wondering whether or not they made the right choice when they matriculated to law school in the first place.

Earlier this week, Lat received this question from a 2L at a top-eight law school:

Hi David. I’ve got a dilemma and it’s really eating me up and I was wondering if you could give me some advice. Here are the salient points:

* I’m at [redacted] — an awesome school.
* It’s a crappy economy and I don’t anticipate getting a job anytime soon.
* My 1L grades are A-, B+, B, B, B-, B-, B-, B-.
* I’m not sure I really want to spend my life being a lawyer. It seems like such a boring profession.
* I think I would be really happy being a public interest attorney, like working at the DA’s office or on Capitol Hill. I get excited about those jobs — but they pay nothing and are super-hard to get.
* I’m about $70K in debt — so I’ve invested so much!

People tell me that a JD is a great credential to get. I just don’t know if it’s worth it to finish the degree. It’s so darn expensive. Realistically, if I stay the course I’ll graduate with $170K in debt. If I don’t finish, I’ll never have the degree and the prospects that come with it.

I feel that long-term, over a 40-year career, it could be good to have the law degree — it’s from [redacted], not from a lower-ranked school.

Should I finish law school or walk away?

Mwahahaha — David isn’t here, Mrs. Torrance.

Just kidding. Lat is here, and he will answer your question in a second. But first, let Elie explain why you should run, now…

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The class of 2013 probably won’t return to Above the Law in full force until after Labor Day. But a couple of comments on last night’s LeBron James post alerted us to the fact that some of the new 1Ls are here with us now:

Maybe I’m missing something, but on what basis does the court in Washington, DC exercise jurisdiction over Gloria and LeBron? Shouldn’t their lawyers raise this issue before trying to dismiss the suit as meritless?

An ATL veteran provided the credited response:

Glad to see we have newly-minted 1Ls again. Now sit on my [manly man part] while I rub your international shoe.

Yep, it’s back-to-school time. Now that thousands of 1Ls have committed to going to law school, the question arises: What should these people do to get the most out of their legal education?

We’ve got theories, the legal blogosphere has theories, and we’re sure ATL commenters have theories. Let’s help these 1Ls get prepared for what they’ve gotten themselves into…

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Don’t be misled by the photo — this isn’t another post about Snooki. It’s about Constance McMillen (pictured), a lesbian high schooler who wanted to bring her girlfriend to the high school prom.

(Query from Elie: Is “lesbian high schooler” the politically correct way to say “girls’ hockey team”?)

The Clarion-Ledger reports:

Both sides are claiming victory from a federal judge’s ruling Tuesday on a Mississippi school board’s decision to cancel the prom rather than allow a lesbian student to attend with her girlfriend.

U.S. District Court Judge Glen Davidson denied 18-year-old senior Constance McMillen’s request to reinstate the prom, noting “the court cannot go into the business of planning and overseeing a prom.”

To paraphrase Justice Blackmun: From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of teenage sex.

So if Judge Davidson declined to “so order” a high school prom, how can McMillen claim victory?

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Judge declines to order school to hold prom.

Kenneth Starr Kenneth W Starr Ken Starr Ken W Starr Ken Star Whitewater Monica Lewinsky Pepperdine Law School.jpgWe heart Kenneth Starr. Aside from his platinum-plated résumé — Supreme Court clerkship, D.C. Circuit judgeship, service as Solicitor General — Starr brought us the most entertaining political scandal ever: the Monica Lewinsky affair.
Don’t you long for a return to the pre-9/11, pre-Iraq / Afghanistan War, pre-Great Recession days, when our nation’s greatest worry was whether a White House intern was s’ing some d in the Oval Office? Sigh….
Sorry, we got lost in nostalgia for a moment. Back to the present. Today brings big news about our beloved Ken Starr. He’s leaving Pepperdine University School of Law, where he has served as dean since 2004, for a new and even more distinguished post.
So, where’s he going?

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Diversity.jpgThe ABA is out with a new report that suggests the recession has negatively impacted diversity in the legal profession. The report also confirms reports we’ve heard about layoffs disproportionately affecting minority attorneys: The ABA Journal summarizes the findings:

“While law firms have increasingly come to recognize that diverse corporate clients and international markets often require lawyer diversity, the recession is drying up monies for diversity initiatives and creating downsizing and cutbacks that may disproportionately and negatively affect lawyer diversity–thereby undoing the gains of past decades,” states the report produced for the ABA Presidential Initiative Commission on Diversity.
The report, titled Diversity in the Legal Profession: The Next Steps (PDF), also urges law schools to take financial considerations into account in seeking greater diversity in admissions since diverse populations often are most affected by rising tuition costs and heavy debt loads.

That’s right, the ABA has some suggested solutions to this problem and — quite rightly — it starts with law schools.
Details from the report after the jump.

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northwestern law school.gifEarlier this week, at the PLI Law Firm Leadership and Management Institute — which was excellent, by the way (and not just because we presented there) — Dean David Van Zandt, of Northwestern University School of Law, offered some reflections on the future of legal education. (We used one of his comments as a recent quote of the day.)

Dean Van Zandt’s presentation was thoughtful and thought-provoking. He analyzed a number of recent reforms made by leading law schools. He also explained the changes that Northwestern Law School has made to its academic program.

One of his most interesting tidbits was the starting salary that would constitute a “break-even point” for going to law school. In other words, what salary would you have to earn upon graduation in order to make going to law school an economically rational decision?

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